As standard logic goes, being called a “bag lady” is a bad thing. But yesterday, at the sprawling Beverly Hills home of socialite Shanna Brooks (which is also Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s former love nest), the term was one of endearment at the ninth annual P.S. Arts Bag Lunch.
“There are worse ways to spend an afternoon,” mused How I Met Your Mother actress Becki Newton of stylists George Kotsiopoulos and Elizabeth Stewart’s yearly designer handbag auction sponsored by Dior Beauty, which raises funds for the L.A.-based arts education organization. With Jimmy Choo, Mulberry, and Ferragamo bags on offer, starting at 60 percent off their standard retail prices, we would have to agree with the actress. Naturally, Newton and fellow attendees, including designer Magda Berliner, artist Kimberly Brooks, and Two Broke Girls star Beth Behrs all clamored to get in on the for-charity deals.
“I have that sample sale mentality,” Newton explained. “So I kept doing laps to see what I could find and by the time I got back to the ones that I wanted they were gone.” Not everyone left empty-handed. Kristin Davis (pictured), who has lent her name as a host of the event since its inception, went home with a muted blue leather Chanel tote at the advice of Stewart (her stylist and the event’s co-founder). “I have a blue Chanel and it goes well with jeans,” Stewart said of the classic choice. “And I envy it!” said Davis. The most coveted (and fought over) piece of the day, however, turned out to be a brown ostrich bag by Tom Ford, which went for $6,000. By auction’s end, the crowd raised nearly $200,000 for P.S. Arts. And for one afternoon, at least, being called a bag lady was a badge of honor.
Mélanie Laurent was struggling to calm her nerves Wednesday night: “I had one glass of Champagne, but it’s not enough,” she told the crowd assembled at the Tribeca Grand Hotel for the Cinema Society’s screening of The Adopted. Laurent wrote, directed, and acted in this tale of an unconventional family unit dealing with sudden tragedy—in short, it’s her baby (and her first outing directing a feature-length film). Luckily for the Inglourious Basterds actress, she had a handful of cast mates from the thriller (Now You See Me) she’s been shooting in New Orleans—including Dave Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, and Isla Fisher—present at Wednesday night’s event, co-sponsored by Dior Beauty, to help her send it out into the world.
“It was really interesting to write something that’s so far away from me,” said Laurent, who turned up wearing head-to-toe Dior. (The Adopted centers on two sisters, for example, whereas she has only a brother.) “I had that freedom of great distance, where you’re free to write anything you want.” The touching drama had more than a few audience members running to the bathroom to fix their makeup before the after-party at the Soho Grand. Laurent stayed late, drinking celebratory Champagne and eating macarons. She’ll be back in town for the next film she directs, she told Style.com—”a story of a life,” set in the eighties, that requires some New York scenes. In the meantime, though, she’s got a few acting roles to fulfill. “Give me one year,” she promised.